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Bobby Charlton, Manchester United legend, dies at 86

Legendary Manchester United player Bobby Charlton — who led England to its only World Cup title in 1966 — has died at the age of 86, the club announced Saturday.

“Manchester United is in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club,” the Premier League team said in a statement.

No cause of death was revealed. After Charlton’s death, Geoff Hurst is now the only living member of the World Cup winning 1966 England team.

In 1958, Charlton survived the Munich air disaster, when a British European Airways plane carrying the Manchester United team crashed on its third attempt at takeoff, killing eight of Charlton’s teammates.

Charlton, who played a major role in securing the European Cup for Manchester United in 1968 and scored two goals in the game, is remembered for being a “giant of the game” who inspired fans and other players globally.

“Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world,” the club said.

The Premier League said they were “deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest players in English football history. Our thoughts and sincere condolences go to Sir Bobby’s family and friends, and to all at Manchester United.”

Charlton had a long history with Manchester United, joining its youth academy as a child and then playing for the club for 17 years. During his time with the team, he scored 249 goals in 758 games and picked up three league titles and the FA cup, in addition to the European Cup.

After his retirement as a footballer, Charlton continued working with Manchester United, serving as the director of the club for 39 years.

“His unparalleled record of achievement, character and service will be forever etched in the history of Manchester United and English football,” the statement said.

Geoff Hurst, Charlton’s World Cup teammate, remembered the late player, writing on social media that he was “1 of the true Greats.”

“We will never forget him & nor will all of football,” Hurst said. “A great colleague & friend he will be sorely missed by all of the country beyond sport alone.”

Soccer star David Beckham also took to Instagram to mourn the loss of Charlton, writing about the impact the player had on his own iconic career with Manchester United. Beckham’s parents named him after Charlton, giving him the middle name “Robert” as a tribute to the great athlete.

“It all began with Sir Bobby❤️Sir Bobby was the reason I had the opportunity to play for Manchester United,” Beckham shared alongside a photo of his younger self with Charlton.

“A true gentleman , family man and truly a national hero,” Beckham continued. “Today isn’t just a sad day for Manchester United & England, it’s a sad day for football and everything that Sir Bobby represented.”

The English Football Association have confirmed that a full tribute will be paid to Charlton on Nov. 17, when Gareth Southgate’s side play Malta.

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